This will be the scene every Monday through Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in Blair's small gym until late May as the intramural indoor soccer league plays. The league in its first year has attracted many Blair students, largely ESOL and immigrant students, who come together after school and share in their passion for soccer.
According to security guard Jose Segura, who helped to form the league, ESOL students are targeted for the league; however, it is open to all Blair students. "The focus is to get those students in ESOL who are too old for the team, but enjoy soccer," says Segura.
The league brings in kids from all backgrounds, from Cameroon immigrants to natives of Takoma Park. Unlike varsity athletics, intramurals have no age limit so immigrant students who are too old to play on the varsity team can still participate.
Segura thinks the league is an excellent opportunity for students of all backgrounds to come together and have fun. "Kids just coming to this country get a chance to play soccer," says Segura.
Segura wants the intramurals to provide kids with a safe and fun place to go after school. "Playing soccer gets them off the streets and doing something they enjoy," says Segura.
According to junior Papeous Ndiaye the league brings kids together while creating a competitive atmosphere that attracts many skilled players, including many Blair varsity and junior varsity soccer players. "Lots of very talented kids get to show their skills," says Ndiaye.
The level of play in the league is extremely high and competitive. Players dive and slide on the hard gym floor contesting every ball. Many of the 15- minute games are tightly fought matches decided by slim margins. Every goal sparks spectators and players to rush onto the court amidst cheers and shouts.
According to Segura about 120 to 150 kids come to play every afternoon. This large turnout was unexpected and rules have been made and adjusted as the league grows.
The league is constructed of 13 teams playing 5 on 5 and will conclude with a playoff that will crown a champion; additionally Segura hopes to have another tournament at the end of this year.
Segura wants to continue and improve the league next, year getting even more players while improving organization and potentially getting other schools to compete.